SYLVANIA, Ohio – Nasa Hataoka opened a six-stroke lead in the Marathon LPGA Classic on Saturday, catching four of the final five holes for a 7-under-64.
A month after losing a playoff game on Yuka Saso during the U.S. Women’s Open at the Olympic Club, Hataoka led wire-to-wire at Highland Meadows to place herself in position for her fourth LPGA tournament.
“I think the original thinking of this course was that it was a very narrow track, so it would be difficult for me,” Hatoaka said. “Then it turned out that the narrowness makes it easier to get to the target, so I think that’s what was good.”
Hataoka had a tournament record of 19 to less than 194. The 22-year-old Japanese player opened on Thursday with a 10-year-old 61 and had a 69 on Friday. She played number 14-18 in 4 under each of the three days.
“I think last five holes is usually the place where you really have to concentrate and try for the birds,” Hatoaka said. “I think that kind of clicked and gave me those birds.”
The Americans Elizabeth Szokol (67) and Mina Harigae (66) were 13 under.
“I saw the scores here.” Harigae said. ‘Some girls – here you can go very low. But you just never know. Golf is a funny game. I think if I just keep my head up and keep moving forward, it might stick out. ‘
Esther Henseleit had a 67 to get to 12 under, and Saso (64) was once again a hold back with Amy Yang (65), Austin Ernst (66) and Caroline Masson (66).
“My ball line was so bad today,” Henseleit said. “I think I hit one good iron shot today, so it was really a hassle out there. I went up and down a lot. I had some good holes. It just wasn’t that easy for me today. . “
Defending Champion Danielle Kang (68) was 10th down in a group that included Stacy Lewis (65), Brittany Lincicome (67) and Jennifer Kupcho (69).